We need to find ways to get past the 250-run mark, says India skipper Mithali Raj

We need to find ways to get past the 250-run mark, says India skipper Mithali Raj

India skipper Mithali Raj in action. © Getty Images

India skipper Mithali Raj has said that their batting unit has to regroup and find a way to score more than 250 runs whenever they get the chance to set a target.

Reflecting on the comprehensive defeat against England in the first ODI, Raj said that the team is comfortable while batting second but lose out on opportunities when put in to bat.

"We can't go bang bang and lose wickets and then struggle. As a batting unit, we need to sit down with the batting coach to figure out how we can get to that 250-mark if we are batting first, when to press the accelerator and how to get our innings together," she said in the post-match media interaction on Sunday (June 27).

Asked to bat by England skipper Heather Knight, India got off to a positive start, with Smriti Mandhana and Shafali Verma scoring a flurry of boundaries early on. However, once they got out, the middle-order went into a shell.

The run rate dropped to three, and India struggled to recover from that position. Some late boundaries from Raj - who scored 72 from 108 balls - and the lower-order batters helped them get to 201 for eight after 50 overs.

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Trying to address the issue about India's scoring rate in the match, Raj said that the batting line-up is filled with top-order batters from different states as most of their middle-order batters bat up the order for their respective teams in domestic cricket. "We don't really have finishers. We have to either find someone that way or groom someone who shows potential in that area."

However, the India skipper said that the team management has a few players in their mind for the role, adding, "Are we willing to let someone go and groom someone or adapt an existing role? It's a tough call, and it's on our mind." Raj added.

Asked if she could pinpoint one aspect of the game where they should do better, Raj said that the team lacked intent in all three departments. "I could have had another player from the top five to stay there and get us runs. Our bowlers could have been more consistent with their lengths. Fielding could have been better," she said.



On the bowling front, Jhulan Goswami was the pick of the seamers for India, operating at an economy of 4.16. Raj felt that the other seamers have to step up for the team to well, especially in conditions that are helpful for fast bowling.

"These are conditions that favour seamers. They should be able to use these conditions well. If they don't get wickets or control runs, it adds to the pressure on the spinners. We need to groom our fast bowling departments."

India went into a bubble after Verma got out, scoring only four runs in the next five overs. At one point, Punam Raut was batting at six runs from 27 balls. When asked if she would move up to the number three position to keep the innings going, Raj said that coming in at number four allows her to groom the players who bat around her.

"I've got most of my runs in the number three slot, but it is important to have batters in the side. We can't field all-rounders who pitch little here and there. We need batters who can score runs."

"If I go at number four, I am giving the team an opportunity because I am not going to be here forever. At four, I can stay and groom players. We need to rethink our batting order and shuffle around a bit," she concluded.

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